Describe a place or time where the main character felt very comfortable or uncomfortable in the written text? Explain how the techniques helped you to understand the characters reaction
We all can feel uncomfortable depending on a situation we are in. It could be a feeling of uselessness, fear, or complete and utter embarrassment or the pain of a broken leg, causing disability and a heavy burden. The technique of using syntax can create a variety of emotion to show the theme that ” humans are able to feel others physical and emotional discomfort in a demanding situation ” This theme is evident in the novel “Touching the Void”, by Joe Simpson which is written as a factual recount of his own experience when climbing Siula Grande with the company of Simon Yates and Richard Hawking.
“What now? It was a vicious circle. If you succeed with one dream, you come back to square one and it’s not long before your conjuring up another, slightly harder, a bit more ambitious- a bit more dangerous…it always unsettled me, this moment of reaching the summit, this sudden stillness and quiet after the storm, which gave me time to wonder what I was doing and sense a niggling doubt that perhaps I was inexorably losing control – was I here purely for pleasure or was it egotism? Did I really want to come back for more?” A moment of reflection. Joe and Simon summit the west face of Siula Grande, and are the first to achieve this climb, the only thing left between failure or success is the descent. The prospect that failure will be encountered, is very much there for Joe, he states that this niggling doubt of losing control was there in his head, the making of that section creates a complex sentence that shows that his emotional discomfort is the result of the fear of death or injury that will forever prevent what he thinks as an accomplished life. Rhetorical questions are used throughout this passage of text to show evidence of the state of confusion Joe is going through to feel at ease and comfort, for example “What now?” assists the readers to understand that Joe is in distress and feels uncomfortable with his decision making, it is short and sharp and creates a stressed effect but the quotes “Was I here, purely for pleasure or was it egotism?… Did I really want to come back for more?” develops the idea that Joe’s reaction to his own egotism, that he has been trying so hard to ignore and push back and hide from Simon or that he has answered his own question, he finds no satisfaction from the summit of a mountain, he is in it for himself. The usage of Syntax and Rhetorical Questions helps the reader to identify how the main character is shown to be emotionally uncomfortable and how he waited until he was in his own solitude to reflect on his narcissistic characteristics in the sense that he is only climbing summits to prove himself and as a result he is replacing his climbing inspiration with egotism and ambition.
Further on into the book, Joe shatters his knee joint on the descent of the west face of Siula Grande, when he is catapulted off the ridge, head first on his back as he slides down the slope. This is where the climax of the book occurs. When reading we notice a strong usage of the personal pronoun ‘I’, this could be used to make us feel subjective towards Joe and him able to create a relationship with the reader through using personal pronouns. ‘I’ could be also used to capture a moment in time, and create a sense of presence for that moment. Examples include “I slid head-first, on my back… I thought of the drop below but felt nothing… I screamed again as I jerked to a sudden violent stop… I hung, head down…I lifted my head from the snow… I didn’t connect it with the pain… I kicked my left leg free… I’ve broken my leg… I’m dead” Right away we sense the shock that Joe has, but we also get a sense of his physical discomfort. For a climber, having an injury as little as a sprained ankle could mean the difference between life or death. The chances of death are now too great, survival seems almost impossible. Joe has now become a burden for Simon and Joe very well knows it. Referring back to Joe’s emotional discomfort about losing control previously, he was very much concerned about not coming back, every conquered mountain leads to a much more dangerous and ambitious climb and everytime his own fear of this possibility is a manifestation, he created his own outcome. This outcome occurred for a reason, I believe it was Joe to reflect on his egotism and ambition, his physical discomfort was a wake-up call. “My leg. Oh Jesus. My leg” the repetition of the same minor sentence. This usage of Syntax creates a sense of anxiety towards Joe but also shows how Joe was thinking at this moment. Thoughts rushing into his mind and out the next second and replaced with something more terrifying. “My leg…My leg” represents the physical pain Joe is going through, “…Oh Jesus…” represents the realization and the utter shock, but it also states what we are all thinking without saying it, Joe will suffer.